GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Soybean Oil Rises on U.S. Biodiesel Investigation

CHICAGO -- Soybean oil futures closed higher on Friday after the U.S. said it would continue to investigate biodiesel imports.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said it found reason to look into whether the U.S. biofuel industry was "materially injured" by imports from Argentina and Indonesia, countries which allegedly subsidize their producers and sell product in the U.S. below fair value.

Ag Secretary Reassures Farmers on Ethanol -- Market Talk

12:34 ET - The Trump administration over the past few months periodically has tried to tamp down concerns that its policy would favor fossil-fuel producers over renewable energy, in particular ethanol, which is a critical source of demand for US corn farmers. Following a speech on an Iowa farm Friday, newly minted USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue gets the question again: "Renewable energy, ethanol is here to stay," Perdue assures assembled farmers and lawmakers. "You have nothing to worry about." EPA head Scott Pruitt in the past had called the US ethanol mandate "unworkable" and Trump during his transition sought advice from other critics of the program. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

Syngenta Shareholders Accept ChemChina's $43 Billion Offer -- Update

China Inc. reached a new milestone in global acquisitions as shareholders of agro-giant Syngenta AG approved a $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp., sealing the country's biggest foreign deal to date.

The hard work may just be beginning, however, as China National Chemical, known as ChemChina, faces a series of challenges ranging from financing the deal to fusing the Swiss company into its own operations.

EU Palm-Oil Use Not Seen Rising Further -- Market Talk

0545 GMT - The ongoing slowdown in the EU's use of palm oil will continue as the commodity increasingly suffers from a poor reputation and stricter regulations, says BMI Research. "Food use will come under rising pressure while ongoing reform to the EU's renewable policy will cap the use of palm oil-based biodiesel in the region." BMI forecasts the EU's palm-oil consumption falling an average 0.3% annually through 2021; it's risen an average 5.2%/year the past decade. (lucy.craymer@wsj.com; @lucy_craymer)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Rally Stumbles on Profit-Taking

CHICAGO--Cattle futures fell sharply on Friday as money managers booked profits on a soaring livestock rally.

Live cattle futures have been the best-performing commodity so far in 2017, up 37% for the year. Much of the gain came during a 3-day burst that saw futures hit their upper limits multiple times this week, as the number of outstanding contracts rose to record levels.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 17:21 ET (21:21 GMT)